I Came to Puerto Vallarta to Die

This time last year I was living in a 34th floor condo with a 360-degree view of Chicago, Wrigley Field included. The Windy City is a smaller, kinder, more floral New York. In the summer it’s wonderful, but after ten years of winters I had had it with the cold. The wind would race off the lake, tornado down my street and blast my seventy-six year old body, freezing it to the bone. After ten years I had had it.

I lived in Mexico before as a college student, so I knew the language, weather and the people, and I had been here many times. As part of the preparation for my journey, I had a medical checkup and was shocked to learn that my kidneys were in stage four failure. Dialysis or a new kidney was recommended, but both choices didn’t appeal. They offended my freedom of movement. My doctor said turning those options down might lead to death in two years. “If I was going to die”, I thought, “then I wanted to be warm while I was waiting”. So it was off to Puerto Vallarta for me.

I’ve been here a bit over a year now and life has been good. PV may have actually saved my life. The next kidney test I took revealed the downward slide had leveled off a bit.

I lived in Olas Altas for the first six months with a wonderful local family. After, I moved to Plaza Santa Maria where the staff takes care of me like an abuelo (grandfather).

I got interested in photography after a twenty-year career in motion pictures. At my age I’ve gone from Kodak box cameras to iPhone digital. I don’t use my Nikon or Canon anymore, I need the spontaneity and convenience of a phone with a camera that’s always hanging around my neck. I snap off ten or twenty pictures a day. I love my fellow Puerto Vallartans, especially the young and carefree ones.

All the work that you see here and on the cover started out as regular pictures. Using on-line and downloaded filters, and my trusty Photoshop that I’ve had since it first came out, I work my digital magic.


I’ve been promised a show in the lobby of La Galleria in August and you are all invited. You won’t be in the show, but if you’d like a portrait of yourself in the any of the styles you see either here or there, email paulfglickman@gmail.com